Part of my understanding of people tells me that we shut down when we’re offended. Done listening. You’re asshole. You’re wrong. You’re an asshole and because you’re an asshole, you’re wrong. Wait… that’s not really logical, is it?
Being offended, most times, comes from our beliefs being put on trial—someone tells us that what we know to be true, isn’t the truth, and sometimes add that we’re dummies for thinking so in the first place. And while the personal attack might be something to get upset about, it shouldn’t cloud our determination of a statement’s accuracy. Our emotion shouldn’t inform our logic; that is to say: our pathos shouldn’t influence our logos.
Example: If you think 2 + 1 is 5, and I tell you, “You’re a goddamn moron: 2 + 1 is 3,” you can get mad at me all you want for calling you a “goddamn moron”; but you don’t go around insisting it’s 5 for the rest of your life because “someone hurt your feelings one time when you thought 2 + 1 was 5” (if you do, you’re a goddamn moron).
Yet we do this all the time. It happens a lot less with concrete things, those things where there’s no debate. But we all know those times when we’ve made that irrefutable point and the other party refuses to change their opinion out of pride or spite or stubbornness or laziness or fear or whatever-other-reason-I-didn’t-list-because-I-can’t-think-of-everything-at-least-I-can-admit-it.
The aforementioned traits are those of small-minded people.